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EP Review: Super Inuit - Misgivings

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Super Inuit’s debut EP sees the ambient musings of the duo’s first few singles morph into something more sophisticated, structured and tangible. Regret, memory and preservation are some of the lyrical themes running through this sharply focused project that isn’t afraid to explore the noisier, more dissonant and unnatural sides of electronic music.

Album Art 'Misgivings' (2019) by Ashley Heaton

Misgivings demonstrates how well Brian Pokora and Fern Morris’s sound works over several tracks. Although these four songs aren’t the abstract sketches of Super Inuit’s previously released material, it’s not as if they’re shouty and full of hooks. This EP aims higher and delivers shoegaze-like transcendence grounded in crisp, glitchy beats.

‘Flicker’ opens the EP with swelling synth organ, distorting as it peaks and fades. Then Pokora’s signature kick-dense beats cut through and drive this menacing track forward. The sawtooth bassline signals the move away from the cleaner, more purely atmospheric sounds of tracks like ‘Chicane’ and ‘Tectonic’ and vocalist Morris asks, “Flicker are you living?

This igniting spark is followed by ‘Amber’, filtering initial existential doubts through the lens of geological time. From the moment the pulse of the hollow kick enters this drives the track until its conclusion as percussive flourishes occur all around. The song’s vibe sees Super Inuit tap a similar vein to Scottish contemporary electronic duo, Chuchoter – instrumentally it seems to capture the sweet melancholy of a music box with lots of layers and subdivisions syncing up, amounting to a soothing yet interesting aesthetic. It also features some of the EP’s best lyrics, with Morris bemoaning the desperation of millennial materialism – “All the pretty ways we decorate the cage” – and the transience of cultures in, “with your bones the only memory of your feels”.

Moving beyond a futile desire to recreate and sustain the past, ‘Erase’ is less wiping the slate clean than an attempt to “reinvent this modern love”. It is perhaps the duo’s first attempt at an electronica “ballad” and the usual frantic kick drums are absent here in favour of eccentric clicks, buzzes and chirps in the manner of a Scottish Sylvan Esso. This penultimate track showcases Pakora’s skill in creating a lush soundscape when there is more space to play with.

The EP’s concluding title track starts with an expressive, wavering synth that morphs into a moaning saw lead. Particularly notable on this track is the outstanding percussion, which is imaginatively put together and best experienced with a good pair of headphones. In contrast to the crisp, industrial-yet-organic beats the synth lines and vocals run into each other and blend with a lot of lyrical repetition. The noisy countermelody and obsessive mantras of ‘Misgivings’ turn the track into something that sounds almost like The Twilight Sad.

Super Inuit has put together a debut with a lot of promise. The duo is commendably ambitious and shows how versatile their niche can be over four strikingly different yet still cohesive tracks. Although still a little frustratingly abstract, there is definitely a lyrical thread here that draws Misgivings together. This certainly not superficial synth-pop and the palpable philosophical anxiety that runs through the EP is a fitting complement to Pakora’s unresolved ambience.

Misgivings is out on the 5th July

Lead image: Album Art 'Misgivings' (2019) by Ashley Heaton




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